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Yesterday the Court heard arguments in Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals.  The question before the Court is whether it is legal for the patent holder of a bran-name drug to pay competition to delay introduction of a generic equivalent.  As you can read here,

Supreme Court justices suggested that they will open drugmakers to suits over “pay for delay” agreements, hinting at a ruling that would rewrite the rules governing the release of generic medicines.

During arguments Monday, the justices voiced skepticism about the accords, which the Federal Trade Commission says cost buyers as much as $3.5 billion a year. The antitrust agency says brand-name drug companies are paying generic rivals to forestall low-priced versions of popular treatments.

The Federal Trade Commission says here were 40 such agreements struck in FY2012.  the particular case being heard deals with Androgel, which is made by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which the FTC is suing along with 3 generic makers.   Note the following:
The FTC says the price for AndroGel was poised to fall at least 75 percent in 2007 after the FDA cleared the way for competition. Faced with the prospect of losing $125 million in annual profits, Solvay instead paid the generic-makers as much as $42 million a year to delay their competing versions until 2015, the FTC says. At the time, Actavis was known as Watson Pharmaceuticals.

The companies say Solvay, now part of AbbVie, had a patent that, if backed by the courts, would have protected the drug an additional five years — until 2020.

  The FTC has lost this line of argument in 3 of four appellate circuits where it has been contested.  But only Antonin Scalia, of the 8 Justices participating (Alito recused, although without publicly giving a reason) seemed willing to accept the reasoning offered by the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, from where this case came.

This could be an important ruling in empowering the government to help keep health care costs down.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a shock (25+ / 0-)

    Corporations bribe other corporations so they can fleece people who need their drugs.

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 05:35:05 AM PDT

    •  when generic companies spend years and (5+ / 0-)

      billions of dollars on research and development, to bring a life saving drug to the market.
      like the kind that saved my family member from stage four Colon cancer, i'll get outraged.
      must be nice to sit back and just copy someone, but spend not one second or dime to save lives. other than copy what was done, for a profit.

      We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

      by Christin on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 05:52:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everyone is going to die eventually. (6+ / 0-)

        It would be better to put more effort into preventing cancers to begin with, instead of exploiting disease for a profit.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:16:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I read drug companies spend more than 10 times (9+ / 0-)

        the cost of research on advertising. Your 'family member' was LUCKY, not all drugs work on all people the same.

        By the way, that drug that saved your 'family member' probably had the basic research done by a college or government entity, not the greedy fuckers at the drug company.

        *Are we humans or are we dancers?* Annie Lennox (thx Words In Action & OPOL)

        by glorificus on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:17:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that simple (19+ / 0-)

        Much of the basic research is done by government funded researchers at universities and independent small drug development companies.  Of course, this funding is being slashed year after year, and is made worse by the sequester.

        I'd buy this argument if Big Pharma actually put their money back into new drugs.  The truth is these days they go after "me-too" drugs that they know will make money. Change the formulation enough to make it "unique" and it's golden.  Look at Viagra, Cialis, etc.  Their motivation is profit.

        Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

        by GwenM on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:23:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course they put money into research... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stunzeed, Roadbed Guy, MGross, erush1345

          ...especially with the anti-cancer drugs the commenter above was referring to. Academic researchers and small companies rarely get a drug past proof-of-concept experiments before big pharma comes along and provides the financial horsepower to get the drug clinically validated and approved. And there is a lot of additional research that must be done for a drug to be marketable past just simple experiments showing it might be good for a particular disease.

          The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

          by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:48:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This probably turns on semantics (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheOrchid, ScienceMom, SilentBrook

            since technically Big Pharma does a lot of "development" (which is really expensive) and less research per se

            •  Development, yes... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ScienceMom, Roadbed Guy, erush1345

              ...basic "for the science of it only" research, much less. But it is still done.

              The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

              by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:11:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, but not to that big of an extent (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ScienceMom, TheOrchid, mikejay611

                these days Big Pharma seems to be more content to leave that to start up Biotech companies and then buy them out once they get a drug candidate to a sufficiently promising stage.

                •  To be fair, a lot of startups start up... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy, erush1345

                  ...with the explicit idea of being bought by large pharma; most do not plan a separate existence after a certain developmental point. But it makes sense for big pharma to go this route; it can commit when justification of the expense of completing development is warranted, without the downside of the initial development risk. For the startup (and it's financial backers), the arrangement makes sense in that the risk of failure (no effective drug candidate and failing to be bought) is offset by the promise of reward if the startup is bought.

                  At any rate, it's been my experience that larger pharma actually does a lot of basic research to identify potentially useful compounds (and not just for me-too drugs).

                  The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

                  by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:59:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  For me, "basic research" is the NIH funding (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TheOrchid, emobile, erush1345, mikejay611

                    10,000 R01 grants, costing $10 billion, each of which is an extreme long shot to generate information or results leading to a drug.

                    In fact, out of those 10,000 grants, probably only 1 or 2 will.  What pharmaceutical company is going to spend money that way?   That's way NIH funding is so critical, because it spends money doing research in a fundamentally different way than industry.

                    And I don't have a problem with Big Pharma buying out biotech startups for their drug leads.  I'm just curious, however, if they get credit for supporting research with these funds - you know, to address the theme running throughout these diary comments that Big Pharma spends more on advertising than research.  For example, if a company spends $2 billion to buy out a startup biotech company - does that count as them doing research?  I suspect not, and thus makes them look bad . ..  ..

                    •  Good point, your last paragraph. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      erush1345, Roadbed Guy, mikejay611

                      I'd bet acquisition costs are not counted. And keep in mind it's not uncommon for academic researchers who've stumbled onto a promising therapeutic to start a company based on that therapeutic! But I totally agree NIH funding is critical, and more public funds should be spent on it, including the types of grants you mention.

                      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

                      by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:39:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, but they still need to get investors to (0+ / 0-)

                        fund their start up company . .. .

                        Of course, they maintain a certain level of equity, and thus can become fabulously wealthy.  (with "fabulously wealthy" meaning something entirely different to them than to your average Goldman Sachs flunky, of course!).

                        So it seems like a large amount of the financing/risk for new drugs have shifted from Big Pharma to venture capitalists.

                        So really, what else does Big Pharma have to spend their money on other than advertising and acquisitions?  To me, that just shows that they have adopted a different business model, not that they are indelibly evil.  I'm not saying they're not - but if so, it would be for different reasons.

                      •  there is a world of difference (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        teacherken

                        in risking money on research that may never pan out and buying the asset once it has.  When one is praising big pharma for developing life saving drugs with their research, that isn't what happened if they bought the 'sure thing'.  What we see is just an extra layer of profit in develpment not money for research.

          •  they are not making this stuff up (5+ / 0-)

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/...

            http://www.forbes.com/...

            http://articles.washingtonpost.com/...

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            Big Pharma lets NIH and other government funded research do a lot of the nuts and bolts backgroud work into how diseases work and create the understanding that allow specific drugs to be developped.  These companies spend way more on advertising than development.   And they lie cheat and steal in bringing drugs to market in the name of profits.   If a drug isn't going to make a profit, however much it may save lives, it doesn't tend to make it to market.

          •  We are both right (4+ / 0-)

            What's not getting funded is the research into less glamorous or profitable drugs.  Much funding for diseases that affect thousands instead of millions comes from the government and private foundations.  

            Big Pharma has perverted and abused the system.  Pfizer, to name the biggest, bought the best of their competitors, got rid of many excellent scientists, and hurt communities and patients in the process.  Their pipeline hasn't produced anything significant lately, primarily because they are a huge corporation driven by profits.

            They let the government, individuals, and foundations take the risks in the early stages of development, and then swoop in if there's a proven winner. That's the way the system works.

            Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

            by GwenM on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:23:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would be all for making... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GwenM, erush1345

              ...drug development in particular, and medicine generally, less of a business. We should be pouring more billions of $$ into basic and clinical research through entities like the NIH and NCI than we do, including public funding of clinical research through phase III and approval - who says only companies should get drugs approved?

              The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

              by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:05:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What happens (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook, mikejay611

          Drug R&D (and associated costs like getting it through testing and approval) is directed in one of two places.

          1. Drugs to treat chronic conditions.  These are valuable because patients keep using them for long periods.  (By contrast, you take 10 days of antibiotics and you're better.)

          2. Look-alike drugs.  Here, the goal is typically to protect a franchise on a drug whose patent is about to expire, or perhaps to make more strategic decisions regarding a competitor's products.  This doesn't involve much basic research and is more focused on gaming the patent system than it is on actually developing new drugs.

          Cancer drugs are in the first category and then some.  There is a lot of publicly funded research here, and  a lot of pharma funded research on top of that.  What's left of drug development budgets includes a hefty allocation for cancer drugs.  Why?  They're very lucrative.  A "look alike" drug that is effective against cancer is both useful and legitimately patentable.

          One interesting side note.  Biotech startups exist to spend money on developing new drugs, and this accounts for a lot of R&D spending.  The continued gaming of the patent system makes it difficult for such startups, who increasingly are at risk of bogus patent infringement claims that they can't afford to defend.

      •  Companies do get a period of patent protection. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook

        Is your argument that this period is not long enough?  Because as I read it, what they were doing in this case was artificially extending that period by bribing the generic manufacturers to delay releasing their generic equivalents.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:52:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not long enough. (0+ / 0-)

          By the time a drug finally gets to market, the pharma company has a few years left in the patent life to recoup the cost of developing the drug (and all of its failed molecules during that period) before generics take over. Brand name drugs would be cheaper if they had a longer exclusivity period. I think that would be a good trade-off for bulk pricing negotiations in a single-payer system.

          •  I seriously doubt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook

            that brand-name drugs would be any cheaper at all. This is American capitalism at work; they'll charge every bit of what the market will bear for as long as they can.

            •  That's where Medicare For All comes in. (0+ / 0-)

              Take the open market out of the equation.

              •  This is why liberals aren't taken seriously. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mikejay611

                On one hand, you say give Big Pharma longer to profit from a drug; on the other, you say, just let Uncle Sugar pay for it all. What incentive does that give Big Pharma to lower prices, when the government (i.e., Medicare for All) is paying whatever they charge? None.

                Their incentive is to maintain/increase their prices: customers won't care, since they don't pay the bill; Big Pharma companies only see the bigger profits on their bottom line; and then, the Catfood Commisars get to complain about how Medicare For All is a boondoggle & has to be reformed (i.e., wrecked).

                We can't handhold corporations that just say they aren't profitable enough; tell me when the last time a Big Pharma company went into bankrupcy? Only happens when they sell killer drugs that they failed to test enough/fudged the test numbers to rush the killer drug onto the market, not because they don't have enough time to profit off of drugs they develop.

                Instead, we need ways to limit medical inflation, since it is the driver of so many of the Catfood Commisar arguments: "we can't afford Medicare/Medicade/healthcare retirement bennies because the costs are skyrocketing".

                I am especially gladdened that Obamacare pulls the insurance companies away from the "more profit for us is good" tendecies inherrent in capitalism by its limitation on profit with the requirement that excess profits be refunded to policyholders. We need more of this, not less, particularly with the Pharma sector being a major driver of costs.

                If we are ever to get that Medicare For All, it will only come when we've tamed the inflationary tendencies in medicine that make the Catfood Commisars drool in anticipation.

                PrezObama's only mistake in the sequester is that he assumed that the Republicans would be more loyal to their oath of office to serve the people than their oath to Norquist to never close tax loopholes.

                by SilentBrook on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:15:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  What single-payer system? (0+ / 0-)

            If we had such a thing (and it wasn't barred from bulk pricing negotiations like Medicare is) then your hypothetical might be possible.

            But we don't, and we won't for quite some time if ever.

            “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

            by jrooth on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 12:23:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  They can't extend beyond the expiration date (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jrooth

          The argument presupposes a valid, unexpired patent the parties agree will for all intents and purposes expire sooner than it otherwise would (but generic entry is later than if they defeated the patent suit).  The appeal of the FTC's case is that when the generics filed to come on market, they certified either that they don't infringe or the patent is invalid.  Then, when they settle, they reverse course.  (This isnt too uncommon in litigation - unless there's a final judgment, either position could be right.)  The brand and generic companies argue that the deals enhane competition because the generics come on market sooner than the face of the patent would allow, albeit later than if the brand had not challenged the certifications.  And, as i understand it, the FTC's not challenging patent term splitting entirely, but rather, splitting plus "reverse" payments to the infringer.  The problem with that logic is the cash payments and patent term splits are in theory interchangeable.  

          What the Court is really trying to find is a working test so bona fide, arms-length settlements of very complex suits can be sorted from collusive ones, where the sides "knew" the outcome of litigation, somehow.  This is why the FTC wants a "quick look," and presume all such settlements are collusive, and the brand and generic pharmaceutical cos. want to argue the burden should be higher because of statutory presumptions of patent validity, a provision of Hatch-Waxman defining a subset of generic certifications as an act of infringement, and public policy in favor of settling lawsuits.  

          Alito can't hear this case, so I think it could split 4-4, and Congress should find a way to amend the certification statute, one way or another, because that creates the unique situation of allowing "infringement" by the generics to go to court without actual lost sales by the brand, creating the inventive to pay off the infringer.  The risk is that exposing generics to large patent liability would deter them from challenging patents for a large number of branded drugs.

          I'd look at ebay v. Mercexhange for a view of where the court might go -- they applied in that case the traditional equitable factors of when patent holders could get injunctions in ordinary infringement cases.  If that standard is met (and not just the 30 month automatic stay in Hatch Waxman litigation), its possible to evaluate these settlements by evaluating the underlying patent claims.  It could be duplicative of the very litigation that was settled, but I can't see another way to see if the parties extended a monopoly than whether they'd be entitled to one.  The FTC's theory of a reverse payment being sufficient to infer that is interesting, but not quite good enough, as it assumes the reason for payments from the case to be proved.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:20:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But they get 20 years of patent protection (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GwenM, SilentBrook

        This is ample time to recover R&D costs (the variable costs of producing drugs are generally very low).

        The pharma industry has tended in recent years to wind down its R&D spending because there is a higher return from trolling the intellectual property system and then creating "new" (and marginally patentable) variants of existing medications and then advertising the hell out of them.  In the mean time, they push antibiotics like candy but won't invest in R&D to make new ones to treat all of the resistant bacteria strains that result from overuse of anitbiotics that they stimulated in the first place.

  •  This case is so egregious (8+ / 0-)

    ... that only Scalia, on the most corporatist-friendly court in at least a century, is willing to entertain the anti-competitive arguments of Big Pharma?  It'd truly be shocking if this SCOTUS handed big greedy corporations a defeat on anything.  

    But what'd be even more shocking is if the FDA didn't provide some other backdoor way for the brand-name pharmaceutical companies to achieve the same end.  FDA is one of the most corrupted arms of government -- right up there with the MMS that lets Big Oil stick its pipes in any dangerous undersea locale they like.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 05:51:45 AM PDT

    •  It's not that cut and dry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345

      These "pay for delay" agreements are executed to settle patent infringement lawsuits.  If the Supreme Court decides they violate the antitrust laws, more of these lawsuits will be taken to judgment.  When the patent owner wins, the result is LESS competition (monopoly vs. duopoly) for a period of time at the back end of the patent term.  

      •  What's the purpose of those lawsuits? (0+ / 0-)

        If the patent has expired, that's a pretty definite date, is it not?  So the only evident purpose of a lawsuit would be to arrange these payments, which are beneficial to both parties.

        Talk about your frivolous lawsuits....

        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:52:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They haven't expired (0+ / 0-)

          and there's a statutory cause of action for branded drugs agains generics who make certain certifications to come on market, which actually benefits generics because they can get the patent right adjudicated without incurring marketing costs or risking money damages to the patent holder in the form of appropriated sales.  This is what creates the incentive to pay the (presumed) infringer not to enter the market as soon as it could with FDA approval, but the presumed infringer in any event enters before patent expiration.  Anyway, this case isn't about legal versus illegal, full stop, but whether the FTC is entitled to presume such settlements are anticompetitive from the fact of the "reverse" payments, or whether the parties to the underlying patent suit an agree to preserve the status quo with respect to patent validity.  I tend to think there isn't a good claim in all cases, but there could be if there's a "plus factor," like the patent was demonstrably obtained by fraud or the infringement claim self-evidently subject to file wrapper estoppel, or whether the drug in question is actually priced as a monopoly compared to other similarly-indicated formulations.  (I believe there have been some cases where generic entry was delayed beyond patent expiration, but there's no circuit split about those arrangements.).  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:33:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Could be but probably not since some non-human (0+ / 0-)

    Persons are more equal than others. That's the American way, money is more important than humans.

  •  A much better background of the case... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunzeed, white blitz, MGross, Loge, erush1345

    ...can be found here:

    The dispute involves the testosterone replacement treatment AndroGel, which enjoyed sales of over $400 million in 2007.  The FDA approved AndroGel in 2000 and granted Solvay Pharmaceuticals three years of market exclusivity.  Meanwhile, Solvay sought a patent on AndroGel, which it obtained in January 2003, a month before the FDA exclusivity period expired.  Later in 2003, other drug makers, including Watson Pharmaceuticals, filed applications with the FDA for approval of generic versions of AndroGel.  These applications certified that Solvay’s patent claims were invalid or would not be infringed by their proposed products.

    This certification gave Solvay the right to sue for infringement.  Solvay exercised this right and thereby triggered a legally mandated 30-month stay of FDA approval for the generic drugs.  Unsurprisingly, litigation continued past the end of the regulatory stay, and the FDA approved Watson’s generic drug application in January 2006.  In September 2006, before Watson and its associates brought their products to market, they settled Solvay’s infringement claim by agreeing not to market their generic drugs until 2015.

    On the same date, the parties signed additional agreements under which Solvay agreed to pay the generic manufacturers up to an estimated amount of $42 million per year, nominally for promotional services and backup manufacturing capacity.  The parties reported their settlements to the FTC, which investigated and then filed suit.  The FTC argued that reverse payment settlements should be presumptively illegal as an unreasonable restraint of trade under federal antitrust law.  A district judge in the Northern District of Georgia disagreed and dismissed claims that the parties’ settlements violated the antitrust laws.  On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

    It's apparent Solvay had a patent that covered Androgel.  After more than 30 months of litigation, the parties (including the generics) appear to have agreed that settlement, and the payments, made more sense than continuing to challenge the patent.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:40:35 AM PDT

    •  based on oral argument SCOTUS doesn't agree (0+ / 0-)

      with your assessment

      again, only Scalia seemed willing to accept reasoning of 11th Circuit

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My assessment was based on the facts... (0+ / 0-)

        ...as given above, and were, as I said, background. I didnt think the originally-cited article's review of the facts was all that clear.  The Supreme Court, as your diary points out, just heard argument as to whether the setted arrangement is legitimate or not.  That's still to be decided.

        (PS - Isn't it Antonin Scalia?)

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 06:56:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the info (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheOrchid, erush1345, SilentBrook

      The patent thing stuck out like a red flag. It does seem (to me) that so many bogus patents do get granted and that there aren't enough tech savy judges dealing with patent law to handle the decisions of validating patents. Usually it's pretty hard to have a patent thrown out, but anti-trust actions as settlement is a interesting take on the matter.

    •  Not sure victory is going to help things. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheOrchid

      So, lets say the FTC wins, and Solvay's little settlement kickback gets thrown out.

      Everything else Solvay did up to that point (frivolous patent, endless litigation) is still legal.  Meaning they can still tie the generic makers up in court for three years and cost them millions of dollars... they just can't bribe them for additional years in the settlement.

      Sounds like we need some patent reform.

      •  It wouldn't be a bad result... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, SilentBrook

        ...if SCotUS disallowed the scheme, which would force the litigants to finalize determination of the patent's validity. The 30-month stay of approval of a generic drug, where the patent is in force, is statutorily mandated, however, and represented part of a balance between the rights of the patent holder and the rights of generics manufacturers to start manufacture right after the patent expires. It's not perfect, to say the least, but any patent reform would have to take these competing interests (and a host of others) into account.

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:16:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Especially interesting in this market-driven (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    economy.  How can ANYONE argue for letting the market run free-range when big business doesn't even trust freedomz?

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:03:09 AM PDT

  •  If they aren't slapped back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    Then the court will have gutted anti-trust.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:18:08 AM PDT

  •  Wait, there isn't an amendment or other part (0+ / 0-)

    of the constitution that says:

    An unregulated economy, being necessary to the well-being of a free market, the right of the big corporations to be secure in their profits, shall not be infringed.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:21:30 AM PDT

    •  constitution presumes economic regulation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, dicentra

      starting with its protection of patents and copyrights

      if corporations want to do away with government oversight, let's simultaneously do away with patents and copyrights and have a really truly free marketplace

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:26:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was of course being snarky (0+ / 0-)

        Even Hamilton and his conservative pro-capitalism ideological forebearers Smith and Burke believed in the necessity of proper regulation (not to mention government-provided welfare for the less well-off). It was only in the mid to late 19th century that classical liberals like Mill and Spencer and other well-off bourgeois theoreticians began popularizing free market ideology.

        Which has clearly failed in practice.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:42:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wish they'd visit cannabis prohibition instead (0+ / 0-)

    Imagine a little herb could do a lot more good for more people than a synthetic testosterone underarm stick. Except for the casterati.

    Who want to bet that John Roberts and the Supremes don't sing a pro Big-Pharma corporate tune?

    For Christ's sake, let's help more of our frightened people get through this thing, whatever it is - Kurt Vonnegut on our "faithless custodians of capital"

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:51:16 AM PDT

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